Students, faculty and community members at the University of South Dakota gathered for a meeting Thursday to provide input regarding the search for a new provost for the University of South Dakota and a dean for the Beacom School of Business.
The Provost Search Committee and the Dean, Beacom School of Business Search partnered with consultants from the search firm Witt/Kieffer to pinpoint key challenges, opportunities and agenda items for the incoming provost and dean.
Witt/Kieffer Managing Partner Lucy Apthorp Leske said in order for the firm to support committees they need to help build pool of candidates with whom they want to engage.
“We want to populate the pool with a higher quality group of people,” she said. “To help recruit more people into these pools, we need to tell your story.”
Mary Nettleman, chair of the Provost Search Committee, said the strategic plan is being taken into account when searching for a provost, but in the end the strategic plan is a piece of paper and the university needs a leader.
Emily Haddad, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said there is enough diversity on campus, but the community is still small enough for an individual person to make a difference.
“The most important aspect (of the strategic plan) is emphasizing experience of students,” Haddad said. “If it was as great as it could be, we wouldn’t be talking about retention at the rate that we are.”
Student Government Association President Erik Muckey said the approach to inclusive excellence as well as the aspect of growth and retention should be at the forefront.
“We talk about how small a community USD is, but we’re also starting to see growth,” he said. “Sticking to the mission, but approaching this growth is going to be one of the biggest balancing acts.”
The committee also asked for general comments on the qualities the community would like to see in the new academic leaders.
Muckey added an importance of USD is the small community environment with the potential for growth.
Consultant Jennifer Biehn said there are many compelling reasons for a dean or provost would want to be at USD.
“We’re looking forward to helping find the right leader,” Biehn said. “This is what we’re going to use to build our strategy and our plan.”